Photos by Casey Brooke Lawson
The University of Florida men’s and women’s cross country teams won the 20th Annual Mountain Dew Invitational on Saturday, marking the fourth consecutive year the Gators have taken first. The women captured the top spot in the 5K race with 17 points, while the men won the 8K with 15 points.
The Gator women took the first three places in the meet. Freshman Genevieve LaCaze began her career on the right foot by winning her first-ever collegiate race in a time of 17:34.79. She landed in the fifth spot on the Gator Invitational top times list and third in the UF record books for fastest Gator on the UF Golf Course in a 5K race. Sophomore Ali Crabb placed second, bumping up her career-best on the UF Golf Course to 17:36.99, which places fifth in the record books. Senior Sara Petrick took the third spot with a time of 17:53.36.
“It’s really neat to see Genevieve [LaCaze] get off to such a great start,” Cross country coach Todd Morgan said. “We were really excited about her coming to Florida and we knew she was going to be a great addition to the team.
Florida placed eight runners in the top 10 as senior Jacy Kruzel finished fifth (18:07.61), sophomore Kaitlin Shiver took sixth (18:14.49), senior Julie Northrup placed seventh (18:16.67), sophomore Laura Garrow finished ninth (18:19.33) and sophomore Charlotte Browning came in at number 10 (18:20.88).
On the men’s side, senior Jeremy Criscione earned his second career first-place and seventh top-10 finish in a time of 24:38.75. He was followed by six of his teammates, as the Gators placed nine runners in the top 10. Junior Matt Hensley set a new career-best time with a second-place finish in 24:55.76 and classmate Sean Blaney came in third in 25:00.24.
“We saw some huge breakthroughs on the men’s team,” Morgan said. “Jeremy Criscione continues to do great things. It was a huge breakthrough for Matt Hensley, which is great to see because he is a hard-working, blue collar guy. It’s great to see his hard work pay off.”
Freshman Josh Izewski recorded a fourth-place finish in his first collegiate race in a time of 25:15.94. He was followed by junior Aaron Kindt in fifth (25:18.54), redshirt freshman Geoffrey Anderson in sixth (25:31.37), senior Chris Mullaney in seventh (25:41.64), senior Al Matheny in ninth (25:51.00) and redshirt freshman Michael Anderson in 10th (25:54.18).
The Gators will compete next in the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind., on Friday, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m.